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TO COME AND GO LIKE MAGIC by Katie Pickard Fawcett


by Katie Pickard Fawcett

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85846-8
Publisher: Knopf

Fawcett’s debut novel follows several months in the life of 12-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney, who longs for adventure beyond the bounds of early-1970s Mercy Hill, Ky., where the options are limited indeed. Chili’s pregnant older sister has moved back home following the desertion and apparent suicide of her husband. Her cousin and uncle also seek refuge, and a local “welfare” (the word used as both a noun and an insult) starts to treat her like a friend. Rumor has it that her elderly teacher, Miss Matlock, has traveled the world. In the hands of a more seasoned novelist this would be plenty of fodder for a rousing plot, but this tale, told in pretty, limpid vignettes, lacks life, depth and, most importantly, heart. Despite external action, Chili seems to be merely an observer: Nothing changes her soul. And the big revelations—about the father of Chili’s sister’s baby and about Miss Matlock’s past—fall flat when they seem to carry no consequences. Alas—little magic here. (Historical fiction. 10-13)